Managing Vegetable Garden Pests
Nothing can be more frustrating than creating a beautiful food garden, only to have your harvest obliterated by pests. They can often come in droves overnight, and as soon as you have figured out one, another arrives. We have highlighted a few simple tips to manage common pests in your vegetable garden in order to allow you to enjoy the fruits of you labour.
1. Companion Planting
The ecosystem is functions in such a beautiful way that things find their natural balance or homeostasis. We can leverage this inherent design and optimise our systems to mimic natural ecosystem processes. A great way of doing this is through companion planting. Companion planting pairs certain plants together in such a way that one serves the other. An example would be Alyssum that attracts beneficial insects such as ladybugs that consume aphids.
At Easy Peasy, we choose the best companion plants and include them in your seedling trays every month!
2. Natural Pest Repellents
Avoiding chemicals is optimal when dealing with plants you will ultimately consume. Here are a few natural insecticides that work wonders to keep pests at bay
- Neem Oil - apply to soil and leaves
- Homemade Insecticide - 1 Tbs Dishwashing liquid, 1 Tsp Chilli / Cayenne Pepper, 1 Tsp Turmeric, 4 crushed Garlic, 5 Lt water. Mix together and apply to the plants and soil using a watering can every 2 days in late afternoon or early evening.
- Hydrogen Peroxide - 1 part Hydrogen Peroxide (food grade!) to 10 parts water. Mix together and apply to the plants and soil using a watering can every 2 days in late afternoon or early evening.
- Bicarbonate of Soda - sprinkle directly onto the soil, avoiding any leaves at it can burn them!
- Ash - this is most effective for snails. Use ash from a wood or coal fire, sprinkle a thick and wide layer around the base of each plant or surrounding your entire bed.
3. Creating Barriers
This may be the simplest method as it physically prevents pests from entering the garden area. It is not always viable due to cost and space constraints. However, bed covers, netting, and even enclosed green houses can go a long way for those who don't have the time to manage pests regularly.
4. Healthy Soil
Since the soil is the foundation from which your plants grow, keeping it healthy ensures your plants grow strong, allowing them to bounce back from any damage pests may cause. Use mulch, compost and natural fertiliser on a regular basis to keep your soil in tip top shape.
5. Daily Checks
One of the simplest, albeit time consuming methods, is to check your plants daily. Most pests come out at night, so a regular before-bedtime check is beneficial. Check in folds, under leaves, on stalks, in hidden crevices and around the actual vegetables themselves. Simply collect the pests and remove them far away from your garden. Snails have been known to move 30 m back to their desired spot, so make sure you clear them far away.
Following one or all of these steps should effectively helps you manage your pests with Ease! Good luck and enjoy the journey.